While the television landscape has changed a great deal over the years, the fall television season is still more or less intact as the principal time of the year in which most networks unveil their latest run of new TV shows. For viewers, it’s a time for delicate gambles. After all, there are few things worse than falling hard for a new show, only to see it get cancelled after just a handful of episodes have aired. We’ve all been there before, despite the continuing existence of several current shows that probably should have been taken off the air already anyway.
However, the upside is that — with cable networks offering more original content than ever and streaming services like Netflix and Amazon getting in on the action — there are more new shows to check out and a greater probability that something you love will stick around for awhile. Still, the sheer volume of new TV shows launching this fall can be intimidating. So we’ve boiled that extensive list down to the bare essentials from a variety of networks. Check out our picks for the best new TV shows you definitely need to be watching.
1. Atlanta (FX)
Thanks largely to his work on Community, Donald Glover has gained a pretty sizable fanbase. This comedy-drama — created by Glover, in fact — naturally puts his distinctive skill set front and center. The actor plays a college dropout who joins his cousin in breaking into the rap scene in Atlanta. The new FX series has received critical praise across the board and has already been renewed for Season 2.
2. Designated Survivor (ABC)
When it comes to TV, Kiefer Sutherland may never escape the shadow of his 24 action hero character, Jack Bauer. Thankfully, this ABC political drama doesn’t try to force him into a similar role. Rather, Sutherland plays Tom Kirkman, the U.S. secretary of housing and urban development, who is sworn in as president after the current commander-in-chief and most of the Cabinet is killed in an explosion.
3. Easy (Netflix)
The brainchild of filmmaker and actor Joe Swanberg, this comedy-drama anthology series takes a look sex, relationship, culture, and technology through the prism of a group of Chicago friends. In recent years, anthology shows have gained tons of popularity, and this one — which features such stars as Orlando Bloom, Hannibal Buress, Malin Åkerman, and Marc Maron — is wowing critics with its offbeat perspective.
4. High Maintenance (HBO)
Husband and wife team Ben Sinclair and Katja Blichfeld are behind this comedy series, which premiered on Vimeo back in 2012 and ultimately caught the attention of HBO. Sinclair stars as an unnamed marijuana deliveryman, and each episode chronicles his duties as he encounters various customers. The character-driven series has already been renewed for Season 2, following an overwhelmingly positive response.
5. Luke Cage (Netflix)
Daredevil and Jessica Jones have already established the strength of the Netflix arm of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and this show sees Mike Colter reprise his Jessica Jones character in his own titular adventure. Described as Marvel’s version of The Wire, Luke Cage promises to keep alive the street-level focus of its predecessors, bringing viewers one step closer to team-up miniseries, The Defenders.
6. No Tomorrow (The CW)
Based on Brazilian TV series, Como Aproveitar o Fim do Mundo (How to Enjoy the End of the World), this CW show follows a woman who makes an “apocalyst” detailing everything she hopes to achieve before the world ends. A charming mix of fantasy, romance, comedy, and drama, No Tomorrow is predicated on the fleeting nature of time and could very well be another winner for The CW this fall.
7. Quarry (Cinemax)
The novels of Max Allan Collins serve as the basis for this series, which centers on a Vietnam war vet (Logan Marshall-Green) who returns home from battle only to get sucked in by a devious network of killers. The show has yet to be renewed for a second season, but considering the talent involved and the strong response, we expect Quarry to be back for another round soon.
8. Son of Zorn (Fox)
Fox has long been a haven for quirky, even ridiculous TV shows that would feel out of place on another network. Enter Son of Zorn, which follows the titular warrior (voiced by Jason Sudeikis) as he returns home and attempts to reconnect with his estranged son (Johnny Pemberton). The catch is that Zorn is an animated character from the island of Zephyria, who is trying to live amid a live-action world. Believe it or not, word of mouth has been solid so far.
9. Speechless (ABC)
Minnie Driver leads an ensemble cast in this comedy series about a suburban family who attempts to move to an upscale neighborhood in an effort to improve their lives. Creator Scott Silveri served as a writer and producer on Friends, and we’re hoping that some of that sensibility seeped into this show. Judging by the universal acclaim Speechless has received, that certainly seems to be the case.
10. This Is Us (NBC)
Dan Fogelman previously created the musical comedy series Galavant, but This Is Us promises something far more emotionally grounded. A broad ensemble cast — including Milo Ventimiglia, Mandy Moore, Sterling K. Brown, Chrissy Metz, and Justin Hartley — stars as a group of people who share the same birthday as well as a number of other connections. It’s been compared favorably to NBC’s own Parenthood.
11. Westworld (HBO)
Currently one of the most talked about shows of the new season, Westworld looks to do for sci-fi what Game of Thrones has done for fantasy. Ed Harris, Evan Rachel Wood, Anthony Hopkins, Thandie Newton, and Jeffrey Wright are among the stellar cast in this adaptation of the Michael Crichton film and its tie-in novel. Everyone who has seen Westworld appears to be fascinated by the questions it raises and the themes it addresses. So be sure to hop on now to stay updated.
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